Dr. Scott Atlas explains ‘rise up’ tweet, Whitmer responds with jab at his credentials
Dr. Scott Atlas, a special adviser to President Trump, is coming under heavy fire after tweeting to his almost 90,000 followers on Sunday that citizens should rise up against new Michigan COVID-19 restrictions. Media outlets and Democrats widely condemned his statement and Dr. Atlas rushed to clarify his tweet.
The tweet in question on Sunday night read: “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp”
That tweet was later followed with one where Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, stated that he in no way condones violence: “Hey. I NEVER was talking at all about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!” Unfortunately by then, the media had run with the angle that Atlas was calling for an uprising and aligned him with an Antifa group that had planned to abduct Gov. Whitmer.
WaPo reported: “Critics immediately condemned Atlas’s “rise up” rhetoric, which mirrored President Trump’s previous calls to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and statements that correlated “tyranny” with the pandemic restrictions put in place by Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that was thwarted last month. The suspects said they planned the attack because the Michigan governor was a “tyrant b—-,” according to the FBI.”
— Scott W. Atlas (@SWAtlasHoover) November 15, 2020
Hey. I NEVER was talking at all about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!! https://t.co/LljvwMvjDV
— Scott W. Atlas (@SWAtlasHoover) November 16, 2020
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to the tweets implying that Dr. Atlas was not an expert on COVID-19.
On Sunday, she ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining, and suspended organized sports in a bid to curb the state’s spiking coronavirus cases. She claims that the situation is dire, and she is calling this a “pause to save lives.”
This current round of restrictions will go into force Wednesday and will last three weeks. They are not as harsh as when Whitner issued a stay-at-home order last spring but they are extensive. They were announced as Michigan faces surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide amid rising deaths.
“The situation has never been more dire. We are at the precipice and we need to take some action,” Whitmer stated at an evening news conference.
An order written by the state health department prohibits high schools, colleges, and universities from offering in-person instruction. K-8 schools are allowed to continue with on-site classes, though it is not required. Restaurants, now operating at 50% capacity, must halt dine-in services inside entirely.
Indoor residential gatherings, which were capped at 10 people, may include no more than two households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 25 people. Entertainment facilities such as theaters, bowling alleys, and indoor water parks must close down again. Gyms and pools can stay open but not offer group classes.
The governor is doubling down while lawmakers in her state are allegedly calling for her impeachment. Rep. Matt Maddock said he and a growing list of Michigan legislators will be calling for impeachment hearings after the new restrictions were announced Sunday night.
Today, myself and a growing list of Michigan Legislators have decided that @GovWhitmer has crossed the line and will be calling for #ImpeachWhitmer hearings. The list of violations is long and the call is overdue #MIGOP #MILEG
— Matt Maddock (@matthewmaddock) November 16, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a statement the governor did not reach across the aisle for help and went at it alone. He said Senate Republicans will continue to work with the medical community on ways to fight the virus.
Whitmer has urged the public to “double down” with precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping their distance to avoid a second stay-at-home order. She is discouraging Thanksgiving celebrations as well.
Robert Gordon, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, noted that the order “focuses on indoor gatherings and the settings where groups gather and where the virus can thrive.”
Whitmer took aim at Dr. Atlas over his tweets. “We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular,” Whitmer told CNN. “I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals.”
Instead, Whitmer said that she consults “people that actually have studied and are well respected worldwide on these issues, not the — not the individual that is doing the President’s bidding on this one.”